It’s important to get help when you need it, but what steps could you be taking now to prevent a mental breakdown? Too many Americans over look the importance of being resilient and pay the consequence; literally. Many times mental health is overlooked because you may not think a breakdown can happen to you or because you simply don’t know what you could be doing now to prevent one. Just as you would invest for a secure material future, why not invest in your health? Journey with me as we explore several areas that will make sure you’re happy and resilient.
A survey back in 2013 determined that 40% of Americans get less than the recommended amount of sleep. Sleep affects everything and if you’re not getting enough you’re making your life more difficult than it needs to be. Side effects of poor sleep are: irritability, fatigue, difficulty forming thoughts, self-doubt, a pessimistic view on the world and more. Lack of sleep also makes you less aware which can lead to particularly dangerous situations that might otherwise be safe (Driving, operating machinery, ect).
Eating Healthy and Drinking Plenty of Water
A poor diet, like sleep, is something we see all too often in America. Happy meals loaded with sugars, salts and fat clog the system while not providing what it needs besides the false satisfaction of a quality meal. Eating healthy maintains healthy brain chemistry, which is crucial for dealing with daily stress and trauma. Water is something that often gets overlooked too. Studies have shown that minor dehydration can negatively impact your mood.
We all want to have fun, especially in college, but I’ve always thought a good rule to live by is to keep alcohol consumption to a minimum. Hangovers are never fun and drinking before bed can disturb a healthy sleep cycle. Alcohol is also a depressant, so while in the moment it might make you feel better the next few days could have you feeling more depressed. Never forget that alcohol is fundamentally poisoning your body.
Vitamins in general are great for keeping energy levels high and maintaining a healthy immune system. Vitamin D in particular helps combat depression. Studies have shown that low levels of Vitamin D can be linked to depression. If you don’t get out much and are feeling down this could be something to look into.
Exercise is beneficial in so many ways. When you exercise endorphins are released into the body can relieve pain and reduce stress. Regular exercise has been linked to increased self-esteem, decreased levels of anxiety, more energy and sleep benefits.
Doing What You Like
Doing what you like leads to happiness and happiness can have some long-term health benefits. Some products of happiness are reduced stress, a positive or optimistic outlook on life and an increased ability to establish a strong network of friends. Fun activities also keep your mind busy on positive things as opposed to dwelling on something negative.
Positive and Rational Self Talk
Nobody goes through this world without experiencing set backs and when these situations occur its good to have some kind of game plan to keep your head on straight. One of the biggest mistakes people make is not keeping their emotions in check. Understanding your emotions and how they can warp your perception of an event can keep you safe. Also, looking at the plus side of events grants you the opportunity to learn so that you can make better decisions in the future.
Grief and Humanity
Resilient does not mean you’re invulnerable to trauma. There will be times where despite all your efforts to stay happy and healthy, something still gets the best of you. Its important to understand that we’re only human and grief has its place in the world to. Sometimes the right decision is to be sad so that you can move past something. If you reach a point like this, don’t beat yourself up for something that is out of your control. Humans are not perfect and we do the best we can.